12/26/2008 12:00AM

Malibu Stakes preview

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7 Furlongs
Malibu Stakes (Grade 1)
3-year-olds
Purse $250,000

Analysis:
BOB BLACK JACK may be the main speed in the Malibu, and he usually runs well in his second start following a layoff line. In his recent return run, he tracked a lone pacesetter before attacking from between horses on the turn. He understandably tired late in his first start since the Kentucky Derby, but today's Malibu has been trainer James Kasparoff's goal since the first Saturday in May, and Bob Black Jack should be tightened up to 100% readiness. Bob Black Jack doesn't have the most attractive stride in the world - he's a bit of a paddler - but he does have high speed, and may control this from the start under David Flores.
INTO MISCHIEF likely goes off to stud after this race, but the lightly-raced Harlan's Holiday colt can certainly exit with a bang. He suffered from lingering problems in both feet all year, but showed a good amount of class in winning the Damascus Stakes in his first start since February, and seems healthy and happy right now. A repeat of that Damascus Beyer, a 103, would certainly put him in the hunt, but Into Mischief may have been aided just a bit by a closer/stalker-friendly track at Oak Tree on Breeders' Cup weekend.
GOLDEN SPIKES looms an intriguing sleeper. The South Florida-based colt earned a couple of triple-digit Beyers at Calder during the summer, and may have been a short horse when second in the Radar Love Stakes on November 22. Golden Spikes pressed a solid early pace while five paths deep that day, cruised up to the leaders while three wide on the turn, but drifted out when tiring in the stretch. The connections show a ton of confidence by trying him in this spot, and Golden Spikes can improve in his second start back.
GUNS ON THE TABLE was one of the few pace-pressing winners during the two-day Breeders' Cup festival at Oak Tree, and he did it despite breaking from the far, far outside post. Expect Rafael Bejarano to be aggressive coming out of the gate, and Guns On the Table may be the one to press Bob Black Jack going into the turn.
Travers winner COLONEL JOHN broke his maiden going seven furlongs last year at Oak Tree, and he ran a solid fifth in the Breeders' Cup Classic last time out. He'll probably be outrun in the early portion of the Malibu as he cuts back three-eighths of a mile, and will need a hot pace to rally into when the real running begins. He certainly has the class and ability to beat these horses, but may go off as somewhat of an underlay.
GEORGIE BOY returned from a pulled muscle in his left hind end, an injury that cost him his entire summer campaign, to finish fourth behind Into Mischief in the Damascus. He shows some quick workouts in preparation for this start, and draws a nice attack post on the outside. The Georgie Boy that won the San Vicente in February with a 103 Beyer can certainly prevail in the Malibu, but it remains to be seen if he'll return to his best form after the injury.

Selections:
1. Bob Black Jack
2. Into Mischief
3. Golden Spikes